Attendees - Meetings & Conferences
Frequently asked questions and answers for attendees of Optica's meetings and conferences.
Yes, meetings and conferences are accessible to individuals with special needs. Please address questions or request details by submitting a Help Ticket or by calling Optica at: +1 202.416.1907. Our staff replies to messages within one business day.
Most Optica events offer student grant opportunities. For details, please visit the meeting’s web pages. Some meetings also provide funding for non-students; this support is generally based on need and restrictions apply. To inquire about funding, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The visa application process can take 8 months or more, so we encourage attendees from countries other than the United States to apply for visas as early as possible, but no later than 3 months before they wish to enter the United States. Please note that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
Individuals may submit a request by completing the Letter of Invitation Request Form online or by fax +1 202.416.6100. Please include the meeting name, your full name as it appears on your passport, as well as your gender, date of birth, complete mailing address, passport number and country of issue, and phone and fax numbers. Our online and fax processes are secure to protect your privacy.
Optica is not able to contact US embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry into the host country to attend a meeting or conference.
For detailed information about applying for a visa, refer to the Visa Guide site.
Attention Nationals and Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries:
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
As of 12 January 2009, all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries will be required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP. This authorization may be obtained through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a free internet application administered by the Department of Homeland Security through a US government web site.
Register online for entry to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Frequently Asked Questions about the VWP may be found at: Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
If after 7 days you have not received a confirmation email, please submit a Help Ticket or call OSA at: +1 202.416.1907. Our staff replies to messages within one business day.
This varies by event. Please consult the registration details on the website for the meeting or conference you are interested in attending. You may also submit questions via a Help Ticket or by calling Optica at: +1 202.416.1907. Our staff replies to messages within one business day. Please include the name of the event you are interested in attending.
Student Graduated members pay the Regular Member price for meeting and conference registrations.
Not all events offer the same products and services, but generally the Full Technical Conference registration fee includes:
- One copy of the Conference Program Book
- Online access to the Technical Digest through Optica Publishing Group
- One copy of the Postdeadline Papers Book (if the meeting includes postdeadline presentations).
- Technical Sessions
- Plenary Sessions
- Exhibition Conference Reception
- Congress Reception
- and the coffee breaks/refreshments.
Please allow 7 to 10 business days for processing.
Every meeting or conference has a deadline for refunds and cancellations. Details and rates are included in the registration section of the meeting/conference website. All requests for refunds must be received in writing by the event-specific deadline. A $75 US service charge will be assessed for processing refunds. All registration requests received after the deadline are not refundable. Please allow 7 to 10 business days for processing.
Every Optica meeting and conference has an early registration deadline that offers a discounted fee. Details and rates are included in the registration section of the meeting/conference website.
Booking with one of the event’s official hotels helps to avoid future registration and exhibit pricing increases. Please read the following for important details on these advantages.
The following was published with permission from the Convention Industry Council:
It has been the customary practice of the events industry in the United States to secure a block of hotels rooms for the use of attendees to their events. Typically, the organizer of the event contracts with one or several hotels directly or through a third party. The event organizer enters into a contractual agreement with the hotel(s) or third-party provider and essentially guarantees a predetermined percentage of performance (occupancy) of the attendees.
To protect the value of the rooms that have been set aside for the event, hotels typically include a performance clause in the hotel contract that provides monetary damages if the event organizer’s attendees occupy fewer rooms than agreed upon. Hotels typically allow for some slippage from contracted room blocks so failure to meet performance thresholds can and often does result in a significant loss for the Association and hotel. The increased use of Internet-based travel portals such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity by many travelers has further eroded the integrity of many housing blocks.
Booking outside the block raises daunting and very serious financial and relationship issues for hoteliers and their customers. Event planners can face substantial financial damages in some cases, even if attendees have secured their housing at the designated hotel but have done so through alternative methods such as an Internet based portal. (Many hotels do not possess the advanced technology that is needed to recognize all guests who are attending an event; the event organizer may be penalized even though the requisite number of rooms occupied meets or even exceeds the agreed upon number). When attendees book outside the block both the planner and supplier can suffer significant financial losses.